05 Feb How to make your team SHINE, so you can soar
By Kaylene Shuttlewood
As my father once said, “it’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by pigeons.”
Having the right people in the right role sounds like a no brainer, but it is not always easy to achieve. Out of all the resources a company can have, ‘‘people” are the most unreliable, as their behaviour is easily influcenced by external factors. It is therefore important to choose wisely and carefully. Always get a second or third opinion when hiring. Going with your gut instinct is fine, but be sure to do the right background reference checks and if possible, set them a test or project prior to offering the role. In the end, one of your best assets will be the talent that surrounds and supports you.
Tip #2 Strengthen and develop your talent
Ask your team members to create their individual development plan to avoid stagnation. As a leader, you should take the time to discuss these IDPs with each of your staff members and check their goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) and are aligned to both the business goals and their long term career plans. These IDPs will give you clear insight into your teams’ thinking and guide you in strengthening and shaping their careers.
And remember, good succession planning for your replacement is to your advantage – giving you the flexibility to move on up.
Tip #3 Build sound relationships and communicate effectively
Ensure your team feels comfortable confiding in you. Your staff are often the first to know (and suffer) when their peers are not performing. They will expect you to manage this quickly and effectively, so make sure you are not always looking upwards. Take a regular pulse check of what’s going on around you, as you may be judged harshly if you fail to recognize and manage poor performers in a timely manner.
If you are in a larger office, walk the floor, talk to staff and know their names. Ask them what they are working on. Take an interest. In my organization, we have many exciting projects happening concurrently, so it’s important that each person understands how their role contributes to the customer journey and what the big picture looks like.
Encourage your team to build their external networks through LinkedIn, industry events (like JITO) and through customers. Encourage peer to peer mapping between your team and your customers, ensuring relationships at all levels and touch points. Educate you team to realise that each touchpoint is another opportunity to demonstrate the value your company can bring to their business.
Tip # 4 Mind the generation gap
Embrace and learn from the generational differences in your worlkplace. There is some great reading material out there to inspire you. Try Michael Mcqueen’s “The New Rules of Engagement” which has great tips on getting along and making the most of team members whose thinking and actions are quite different from your own. Understand why the latest generation appear to need far more menotoring, higher pay, quicker promotion. If you thought you knew it all with the Y Gen, are you up to speed with the Z Gen? They have been tarnished with the bush of being over parented, being told they can do anything they put their minds to but have the expecation of instant gratification. They often skip from job to job to find their perfect match. Yet their confidence and fresh ideas can bring great value to your business if you are able to fulfull their needs. Try listening, like they are the only person in the room and embrace their thinking. It may just be the next best innovative idea for your business.
As Albert Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge”
Tip #5 Prepare for disruption
The travel industry is constantly evolving. New technology, ways of doing business, new legislation, heightened security and exposure to the forces of nature like volcanic ash means no one in travel remains untouched by change or disruption.
As your business re-aligns and to adapts to change, it’s important you remember to bring your team with you! They need to understand what is needed from them and why. Ensure buy-in from all your lines of business, because at the end of the day, regardless of internal changes, outwardly you need to remain customer centric.
Make sure your staff know and understand the company strategy. A firm grasp has proven to motivate people to perform if they understand the end goal. Lead by example – this includes not only performance but attitude and behaviour and having the right mindset. This is especially important when you face disruption in your business and need to transform to survive. Don’t make it complex. Complexity stifles growth and progress.
Make transformation more of a journey and be sure to check in with your teams along the way. See what help they need, acknowledge their progress and use past learnings to ensure a successful transformation.
Tip # 6 Develop your EQ (emotional intelligence) and be sure to practice it daily
Many of us might find internal dialogues take hold when we leave the office, so I find this check list reassuring that I have ticked some of the boxes each day and and there is always tomorrow to do better! You might want to keep a log book of examples where you these self check have really worked for you and made a difference.
- Be aware of how team are feeling and the challenges they face
- Be mindful of any changes in team behavior and inconsistencies
- Know what motivates your team and their aspirations
- Be reflective of your leadership style
- Maintain your objectivity by asking for regular feedback
- Pro-actively seek our ways to assist your employees
- Build strong connection and show genuine concern
- Be collaborative and make others feel valued
- Make it difficult for your team to have a bad day
- View the challenges of your team as important as your own
- Be tolerant with the things that frustrate you the most
- Accept that generally people are trying to do their best
- Factor in imperfection in your definition of success
- Show patience with team, that are slower to learn
- Ask for feedback, about that can be improved in the organization
- Become more familiar with your teams’ strengths and areas for improvement
- Recognize good performance and celebrate success
- Be slow to judge a situation learn the facts before jumping in to take action
- Ask about the “why” before the “what” and the “how”
- Be mindful not to react emotionally
- Become familiar with our triggers and make every effort not to be reactive
- Show your vulnerabilities and make it safe for others to show theirs
- Be mindful not to use your position of power to change the behavior of others
- Don’t allow your ego to take control
- Employees’ don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care
- Think about what it must feel like for others when they’re challenged
- Be open and show your employees that you’re on their side
- Show genuine care and concern
- View differences of opinion from the perspective of others even it doesn’t make sense to you
Tip #7 Create your Personal Brand
So my last two tips are all about you. Because if you don’t take care of yourself then you can’t take care of your team.
Make sure your brand is “on point”. Value your reputation, and create a presence. Keep a check of your worth in social currency and watch what you post on social media. Consider what your legacy is now versus what you would like your legacy to be. Try googling yourself, and make sure you’d be happy for a potential new boss to do the same.
Tip # 8 Have fun along the way
Look to stretch yourself for that next role through self belief and tenacity. You might want to consider getting a mentor or spend time with the strong leaders in your life who can help show you the way. Don’t be shy when it comes to asking someone to be your mentor. It doesn’t need to be a formal process – and like any relationship, the first choice might not be “the one”. But I can guarantee, it will set you on the right path, once you have established what you want out of life and it is always good to have someone you can talk to when things get tough or you feel at a crossroads.
Make sure your journey is not all work, and no play. As the saying goes – no one on their death bed ever wished they’d spent more time in the office!
Be present in the moment and be mindful of what you have. Be thankful if you are blessed with good health and make time for family, friends and those you love. Life is short so don’t look back with regrets.
Kaylene Shuttlewood – Managing Director
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